The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) Legislative Council met on Jan. 25 to discuss ongoing and future projects within the Faculty of Arts, including upcoming AUS executive elections, the creation of an ad-hoc committee for the management of the SNAX stand, and negotiating with professors to dramatically reduce the price of course packs. The Council also passed three new motions and delivered a number of departmental reports.
Mandate to increase executive availability prior to general elections
During the meeting, Council members discussed the creation of a new mandate that will affect all students who wish to run for AUS executive positions. The mandate proposes that prospective AUS executives meet with the incumbents prior to pursuing candidacy to discuss their respective portfolio responsibilities. Kat Sviknushin, AUS Vice-President (VP) Social, presented the mandate to the Legislative Council.
“We [the current AUS executives] wanted to put together a pilot program to make better elections for the AUS,” Sviknushin said. “The goal of this conversation would be [to walk] through what the portfolio does [and to give] an opportunity to ask questions and to make the [executives] available to people before they […] run so that they can make better candidates [….] From the way that we see it, better informed candidates make for better informed executives at the end of the day.”
AUS general elections will be held in February. The nomination period for candidacy will begin on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 10 with polling taking place from Feb. 18 to Feb. 25.
The AUS voted to pass the “Motion to Create SNAX Committee,” creating an ad-hoc committee to oversee the operation of the SNAX stand in Leacock. Last winter, the Legislative Council approved a new Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) which permitted the AUS to sell sandwiches. The new MoA was signed after the university suspended the sale of sandwiches at SNAX due to concerns of health and safety liability. The proposal for the new ad-hoc committee was brought to the Legislative Council last semester, but was tabled pending consultations with SNAX managers. Becky Goldberg, AUS president, spoke to The McGill Tribune about the motion.
“SNAX […] has been historically independent despite [the fact] that it’s under the AUS umbrella,” Goldberg said. “[….] It’s a huge portion of our revenue and our finances. We’ve received permission to sell sandwiches and certain items as long as we keep up with a very particular set of standards and guidelines. So, that committee can also act as a measure of accountability.”
These guidelines include health standards as well as requirements to source items sold at SNAX from specific distributors. The committee will include the AUS VP Finance, President, three legislative councilors, and the SNAX manager and assistant manager.
Research on free course pack material
A report presented to the Legislative Council by AUS VP Academic Erik Partridge revealed that the AUS is looking into collaborating with professors to provide free course packs. He said that the AUS has been able to find approximately 80 per cent of course pack materials for free.
“We’ve been unable to get professors on board,” said Partridge. “We’re transitioning [our position] to, […] ‘Let's use the free resources for that 80 per cent so that we can pay 80 per cent less.’”
AUS will deliver a report to its members in early March on its research of the availability of free course pack materials.
Free menstrual product motion
AUS VP Internal Kira Smith said that AUS is working with the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) to implement the motion to provide free menstrual products to students that was proposed by SSMU Council and passed in referendum in Fall 2016. AUS plans to include menstrual product kiosks in the Arts Lounge and the Arts Building.
“It's still something that [SSMU] is working on in terms of logistics,” Smith said. “Once we do have a kiosk […] we’ll start advertising it.”